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Indiana Warrant Records

What is a Warrant in Indiana?

An Indiana warrant is a document issued by an authorized individual that allows the bearer to take a particular action. Typically, the bearer cannot carry out such acts without a warrant, or it will cause a violation of an individual's rights or the state laws.

Within the state, a judge or magistrate usually issues a warrant upon establishing probable cause. The different types of warrants in Indiana include arrest warrants, bench warrants, fugitive warrants, and search warrants.

The determination of probable cause is paramount in the issuance of a warrant. The law enforcement officer requesting the warrant must prove to the judge or magistrate that the warrant is necessary and does not harm an individual's rights. Likewise, judges can also issue warrants at their discretion for particular offenses, e.g., contempt of court.

How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in Indiana?

The Indiana courts can provide information on warrants issued in the state. Generally, non-confidential warrant information is available on the judiciary's case information site. The site can provide information on defendants that have warrants issued against them. Inquirers can view this in the case summary section. Also, the court clerk may provide warrant information upon request. Requesters can visit the clerk's office in their county area to find out if they have a warrant.

Alternatively, a county sheriff's department may provide a warrant search website to the public. This information is usually limited to the locality. For instance, the sheriff's department in Lake County has a warrant search site. Individuals can search for outstanding warrants using their first and last names.

Information on pending warrants is also available at the sheriff's department. Individuals can visit the office and inquire about the procedure for obtaining warrant information.

Records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions are also maintained and by third-party websites. While third-party sites make accessing these records substantially easier, the information available on the sites may vary since they are not government run sources. To obtain warrant records from a third-party site, the requesting party may be required to provide:

  • The personal information of the alleged suspect
  • Information regarding the issuing officer
  • The location where the warrant was issued.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Indiana?

The period within which a warrant stays active in Indiana depends on the kind of warrant. Generally, most warrants issued in the state do not have an expiration period.

A bench warrant remains active for the date of issuance till either a judge recalls it or the subject of the warrant becomes deceased. The same applies to most types of warrants issued in Indiana.

However, state laws state that an arrest warrant issued for a misdemeanor offense becomes inactive 180 days after being issued. Nonetheless, sheriffs with expired misdemeanor arrest warrants can have a judge issue another warrant. This does not apply for a felony arrest warrant which stays active until its purpose is fulfilled.

What is an Indiana Search Warrant?

A search warrant in Indiana usually comes up in criminal investigations. It is a judicial writ given to law enforcement officers that allows them to search a specific location for evidence without someone's consent.

In the United States, a search warrant is important because it is the only way to perform legal searches in the country, other than in exigent circumstances (Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). Hence, before an Indiana judge can issue a search warrant, sufficient grounds must exist (i.e., the requesting police officer must submit an affidavit without prejudice showing probable cause). Per Indiana Code 35-33-5-1, a search warrant can be requested and issued to search a place for any of the following:

  • Property obtained unlawfully.
  • Property that is illegal to possess.
  • Property is possessed by a person who wishes to use it to commit a crime or hide it to prevent the discovery of a crime.
  • Property that constitutes evidence of an offense or will show that a particular person committed an offense.
  • Evidence deemed helpful in enforcing laws prohibiting cruelty to or neglect of children.
  • A firearm that belongs to an individual who is considered dangerous.

What Can Make an Indiana Search Warrant Invalid?

Generally, an Indiana search warrant will be invalid if there is no probable cause for the warrant or if it violates the Fourth Amendment—the search was unreasonable.

Law officers must execute Indiana search warrants according to the directions of the issuing court. If an officer fails to execute the warrant correctly, it may become invalid. Under Indiana Code 35-33-5-7, Indiana search warrants must be:

  • Served within ten days from the issuing date.
  • Returned to the court after the execution without delay.
  • Performed on any day of the week and at any time.

Per this law, officers may break open any outer or inner door/window to execute the warrant if barred from entry after announcing themselves and their purpose to the occupant(s).

Also, individuals can recover damages if they sustained personal injury or property damage from the wrongful or illegal actions of the police during the search. These parties can file a lawsuit to this effect in the county circuit court or superior court where the wrongful entry occurred.

What is an Arrest Warrant in Indiana?

An arrest warrant in Indiana is a document issued by a judge to a law enforcement officer upon a criminal investigation or grand jury indictment. With this writ, the police can apprehend and detain an individual. Nevertheless, per Indiana Code 35-33-2-1, if an indictment is filed in court and the defendant has not yet been arrested or appeared before the court, a judge can issue an arrest warrant to apprehend the defendant without the establishment of probable cause.

In most circumstances, the law does not require the officer to inform the individual of the warrant. This means that the law officers can make an unannounced visit to the subject's residence or workplace to arrest them. As such, performing warrant searches now and then is advisable. However, bear in mind that not every arrest warrant may be discovered by conducting a warrant search.

The information found in an Indiana arrest warrant includes:

  • The name of the individual to be apprehended, or alias(es) and physical description if the name is unknown.
  • The offense committed by the individual.
  • The signature of the court clerk and the judge, and their office titles.
  • The date of issuance and the name of the county.
  • Terms of the execution of the warrant.
  • The amount of bail, if any.
  • The county sheriff's department that will execute the warrant.

What is a Child Support Arrest Warrant in Indiana?

A child support arrest warrant in Indiana is one that the court issues to arrest individuals with unpaid child support. Typically, the court uses it to enforce child support obligations.

Before this warrant is issued, the court will often find the parent in contempt of the court for the nonsupport and schedule a hearing. The owing parent will receive a summons to appear in court. When this party refuses or fails to appear in court, the court may issue the child support arrest warrant to compel their appearance.

Usually, the court determines an escrow amount that the party must pay before the hearing. Parents arrested on a child support arrest warrant may be detained until the hearing, except they pay the escrow amount stated in the warrant.

What is an Indiana Bench Warrant?

An Indiana bench warrant is a type of warrant that judges issue to apprehend an individual who violated a court order. The warrant authorizes police officers to arrest and take such persons into custody. The execution of this warrant is similar to that of arrest warrants. Also, like the latter, bench warrants remain active till the individual is apprehended or the judge recalls it.

In Indiana, judges can issue a bench warrant if a defendant fails to appear in court upon a bail admission (Indiana Code 35-33-8-7). The court will deem the bail bond forfeited and issue the warrant if the defendant fails to appear in court between 120 days and a year after being granted bail.

Police officers can also apprehend people who have a bench warrant for failing to pay court fines within a stipulated time.

In Indiana, What is Failure to Appear?

In Indiana, failure to appear (FTA) occurs when an individual intentionally misses their court date after being ordered to appear. As such, a judge can issue a bench warrant authorizing that person's apprehension. There is no statute of limitations for this type of warrant. Therefore, police officers can act on it anytime.

A failure to appear in Indiana may result in additional charges added to the offender's original offense. The punishment for the FTA offense also depends on the initial court charges. More severe charges will result in harsher failure to appear penalties.

Under Indiana Code 35-44.1-2-9, a failure to appear is a class A misdemeanor if the original charge was also a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a year or less in jail and a fine penalty of up to $5,000. On the other hand, it is a level 6 felony (defined by Indiana Code 35-50-2-7) punishable by incarceration between six months to one-half (2 1/2) years and a fine penalty of up to $10,000 if the original charge was a felony.

Given how serious the punishment for missing court is, a person who commits this offense is advised to carry out a warrant search immediately to check if a warrant has been issued. It may be possible that the court has not yet released the writ, and the individual can take preventive measures to avoid the warrant with the assistance of a defense lawyer.

How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in Indiana?

The jail time for a warrant for missing court in Indiana depends on the charges the individual faces. The punishment may be lesser for minor offenses like traffic violations (up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 maximum fine). However, the incarceration period is greater for misdemeanor and felony charges. Defendants with misdemeanor charges can face up to a year of jail time if they miss their court date. If the court charges the defendant with a felony, it can sentence the defendant to a minimum incarceration period of six months and a maximum of three years. Alongside the jail term, fines may also apply.

In Indiana, What is Failure to Pay?

In Indiana, a failure to pay occurs when an individual fails to pay a fine imposed by a court upon violating state laws. As such, a judge can issue a bench warrant for this reason, allowing law enforcement to apprehend such offenders.

Indiana Code 9-30-3-8 allows the court to issue a warrant against motorists that fail to pay the fines for a motor vehicle violation. The court may penalize payments defaults with incarceration.

What is a No-Knock Warrant in Indiana?

A no-knock warrant in Indiana excuses law enforcement officers executing search warrants at a person's residence from announcing their presence before forcibly intruding. Judges usually issue no-knock warrants if the announcement may put the officer in danger or result in the destruction of evidence.

Typically, the police must prove a practical reason for this warrant before the court may issue it. However, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) prohibits officers from executing no-knock warrants within its jurisdiction.